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Cowichan Conversations: Democratic reform is the real change that must come from Canadian election

If Canadians don’t see a commitment for major change from Monday’s winner, the nastiest and most divisive election in our history, by far, will be for naught.

Change is never easy and the results

Read more…

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, summarizing these posts on the dangers of setting up past advocacy as a barrier to a place in public life.

For further reading…- Again, Sean Fine’s report on the Cons’ general ideological screening for judges is here.  – Glenn Kauth reports on Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin’s lack of concern about Justice Russell Brown’s past comments. – Rachel Aiello reports on how political parties vet candidates through their social media histories, while John Baglow follows up on the NDP’s vetting policy. And Jamie Weinman argues that we should expect more than to play “gotcha” with candidates’ past (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On opinion evidence

There’s plenty of reason for concern about some of the views put forward by the Cons’ latest Supreme Court appointment. But keeping those concerns in mind, I’ll argue that we should be careful about putting too much emphasis on Justice Russell Brown’s past blog posts, rather than the more important question of his present suitability for the Supreme Court (and the process by which it was assessed).

Let’s start by asking the question: how many people with enough legal experience to be considered for any judicial appointment reach that point without forming opinions on matters of politics and law?

The (Read more…) Harper is not serious about senate reform

Stephen Harper is not serious about senate reform.

Despite his announcement last week that he plans to stop filling vacancies in the upper chamber until the senate is reformed, his track record on the issue is very poor.

Stephen Harper, cc: pmwebphotos (

Harper was first elected to parliament in 1993 as the Calgary West MP for the Reform Party, which was well known for its stance favouring a Triple-E (equal, elected, effective) senate. Since becoming Prime-Minister nearly 10 years ago, his only substantive action on senate reform has amounted to just two things: appointing senators elected in ad (Read more…)

Wise Law Blog: Medical Marijuana Law Goes to Canada’s High Court (No Pun Intended)

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether Canadians have the constitutional right to consume medically-prescribed marijuana in a manner other than smoking.Currently, it’s only legal for medical marijuana users to intake dried-marijuana plants. They can’t add it to baked goods or anything else, without opening themselves up to charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for criminal trafficking and narcotics possession. The question before the Court is whether these regulations violate physician-prescribed users section 7 Charter Rights to life, liberty and safety. Read more at the Ottawa Citizen. – Rachel Spence, Law Clerk Visit (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Medical Marijuana Law Goes to Canada’s High Court (No Pun Intended)

Eh Types: Mr. Harper’s Veiled Threats

What do you call a solution without a problem? If you’re Stephen Harper, you call it an election strategy. The Conservative government has been proposing solutions in desperate need of problems. That they do so at all, and the manner in which they do is ironically a big problem. Last week was their announcement that […]

Cowichan Conversations: This is Going To Be A War-Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan


Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has gone to court challenging Kinder Morgan’s efforts to proceed contrary to Burnaby’s bylaws. If the court upholds the by-laws then Kinder Morgan will have to cease their work and leave the area.

This is going to be a war-says Corrigan.

Cowichan Conversations: Tsilhqot’in Nation Gives Canada a New Chance to Do It Right

Step by step the Canada’s Supreme Court is humanizing Canada in spite of our mean spirited Prime Minister and our chequered past treatment of First Nations peoples, culture and values.

This Mitchell Anderson Opinion piece ran in the Tyee recently and is well worth your attention.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs: the terms of the deal are no longer the same. Photo credit Times Colonist

Culture and natural resources may seem to have little in common, but their intersection is about to become very important in Canada.

The sweeping decision by the Supreme (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: First Nations ‘ecstatic’ over historic Supreme Court ruling

Richard Hughes- Blogger

The days of PM Steve Harper running roughshod over First Nations peoples, their land and culture may well have come to an abrupt end!

Of course the mistreatment and short-changing preceded Steve but he has done more than his share and now, finally it appears that some justice is in the cards.

PM Steve Harper- Just say goodbye Steve

This land is indeed their land and the days of ploughing through their lands, their rivers and creeks without regard to their rights or the impacts against the environment.

The First Nations people had already been at the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: BCTF Is On Strike-President Jim Iker- Streaming Video -Uncut

Richard HughesPolitical Blogger

The Christy Clark BC Liberal Government’s refusal to bargain in good faith and to refuse to abide by Supreme Court Rulings is a deliberate attack against education, teachers and the public system of education. It affects us all because it is an attack against a civilized educated society.

Here is the latest streaming video report from BCTF President Jim Iker.




Maple-Flavoured Politics: The Harper Government: Doesn’t Play Well With Others

Is it me or do you get the sense that if a primary school teacher were grading the “Harper Government,” as it like to call itself, the phrase “doesn’t play well with others” would figure prominently on the report card? Of course, the opposition is the opposition so you would expect there to be some … Continue Reading

Bill Longstaff: Don’t give up on the Senate, Mr. Harper

It wouldn’t be surprising if Prime Minister Harper was in a bit of a funk over the Supreme Court’s decision on the Senate this week. The Court unanimously rejected his government’s attempt to transform the Senate into an elected body and to set term limits, saying that such basic changes require the consent of at least seven provinces and half of Canadians. For Mr. Harper, this was fifth straight

Bill Longstaff: Is Harper Americanizing our Supreme Court?

When I first heard about Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati’s challenge of the federal government’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court, I had little interest, thinking this was just some esoteric legal matter that had little meaning to us laymen. But the more it I learn about it, particularly listening to the views of various legal experts, the more I begin to think Galati hit on

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the tendency of both the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Cons to pretend a problem doesn’t exist for years on end, then suddenly proclaim there’s no time to do anything other than force through the most regressive “solution” possible.

In shorter terms, the Shock Doctrine has evolved into the Schmuck Doctrine. And we shouldn’t be accepting a government’s own incompetence as reason to accept its rushed decisions.

For further reading…- CBC reports on the Sask Party’s sudden hurry to lock the province into P3 school construction contracts. And the NDP caucus responds to the announcement.- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Josh Eidelson and John Schmitt take a look at the guaranteed annual income which will be voted on in Switzerland – and the sole barrier to a similar discussion in the U.S. (and likely in Canada): What is a universal basic income, and why are we hearing more about it now?

The proposals that are floating around the world vary a lot. But the basic idea is, no matter what you do, if you’re a resident — or in some cases, a citizen — you get a certain amount of money each (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Indigenous rights: Alberta Métis to appeal to Supreme Court on harvesting rights case

by: Métis Nation of Alberta | Press Release:

EDMONTON, July 4, 2013 – Today, the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to overturn the conviction of Métis harvester Garry Hirsekorn for hunting in the Cypress Hills in 2007. The case―R. v. Hirsekorn―is a harvesting rights “test case” for Alberta Métis as a part of the Métis Nation of Alberta’s (“MNA”) ongoing “hunt for justice” in the courts. A copy of the decision is available at or

MNA President Audrey Poitras stated, “While we are disappointed with today’s decision, we are not deterred. Similar to the Manitoba Métis (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Robocalls: Federal Court finds fraud, Supreme Court appeal considered

By: Council of Canadians | Press Release: The Federal Court has released its decision in the robocalls case. The decision vindicates the applicants’ concerns, as the judge concludes that “fraud occurred in the 2011 Federal Election” though he did not annul the results. This finding about fraud being widespread raises the gravest concerns about the 2011 [...]

The post Robocalls: Federal Court finds fraud, Supreme Court appeal considered appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: In Canada, a ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’ campaign is launched on Refugee Rights Day

By: Canadian Council for Refugees | Press Release: Today the Canadian Council for Refugees and other organizations announced the launch of a campaign designed to transform the conversation about refugees in Canada. Under the banner ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’, 4 April (Refugee Rights Day) will see the launch of new efforts to [...]

The post In Canada, a ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’ campaign is launched on Refugee Rights Day appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Conservative MP’s Bill C-461 threatens CBC journalistic integrity, protection of sources

By: Canadian Journalists for Free Expression | Press Release: TORONTO – One of Canada’s leading free speech groups is warning that a low-profile bill – coming up for second reading debate in the House of Commons today – could severely weaken the journalistic integrity of the CBC and cripple its ability to [...]

The post Conservative MP’s Bill C-461 threatens CBC journalistic integrity, protection of sources appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Metis Win In Court–May Get Winnipeg!

APTN seems to be the only ones covering this SCC decision, though it sounds pretty significant.  At the very least the MMF (Manitoba Metis Federation) gets costs for 30 years of legal wrangling, and it will most likely trigger land claim negotiations.  There’s even an outside chance the MMF is awarded Winnipeg.  Be careful what you wish for, Metis!

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Whatcott At It Again

Despite a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling against him, social conservative activist Bill Whatcott took his controversial anti-gay and anti-abortion stand on Wednesday to the University of Regina.

Bill will soon find out that defying the Supreme Court is a bit different from defying the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.  He will find out as well, I think, that as his legal troubles increase they will trigger smaller and smaller amounts of media coverage.

(Although, that said, I’m not sure the SCC decision mentioned his anti-abortion pamphlets.  If he lays-off the gay bashing Bill may be OK.)

The Canadian Progressive: Aboriginal status ruling challenges policymakers

by John D. Whyte | The Leader Post, Jan 17 2013 Recent developments in relations with aboriginal peoples – the prime minister’s meeting with First Nations leaders, the protest by Chief Theresa Spence, who is on a liquid fast, and especially the Idle No more demonstrations – are likely to be significant. But equally important READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: Indigenous and Human Rights Groups Issue Joint Statement Supporting Chief Spence and #IdleNoMore

Twenty-four indigenous and human rights groups have issued the following joint statement supporting the #IdleNoMore grassroots movement and Chief Theresa Spence, who is in the fourth week of her indefinite hunger strike on Ottawa’s Victoria Island, just across from the Canadian Parliament. Chief Spence, the leader of the northern Ontario Attawapiskat First Nation, is demanding a meeting involving READ MORE

Song of the Watermelon: Emerging Consensus on Gay Marriage

Assuming that the world survives this coming December 21, the United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases in June which could result in the nation-wide legalization of gay marriage.

I cannot forecast with certainty how the court will decide, but supposing for a moment that it rules in favour of marriage equality, the short-term results are easy to predict: conservative commentators across the country will complain of judicial activism, despite having in many cases urged precisely such an overreach one short year before when Obamacare hung in the balance. Right on cue, public support for same-sex

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Emerging Consensus on Gay Marriage

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper Regarding Senate Reform

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

I am writing today in response to reports that you will seek a Supreme Court reference on the constitutionality of your proposals for Senate reform. In a way, I can understand this. You would like clarity on a politically tricky issue, one that would otherwise almost inevitably face judicial challenge.

Personally, I do not believe the court will fully endorse all features of your plan, as the Constitution Act, 1982, is quite clear regarding the constitutional amendment requirements for such fundamental changes to the upper house. But either way, both you and I know

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper Regarding Senate Reform